Make an Annual Skin Cancer Check Part of Your New Year (Updated 2024)

DermSurgery Associates

If you’re like most people, when January 1st rolls around, you’ve got quite a bit going on. Final holiday celebrations might still be on the calendar, college bowl games are on TV, and you’ve got that list of resolutions to attend to. We’re going to suggest you add one more item to that list—and make accomplishing it a priority.

We’re talking about an annual skin cancer check. Fortunately, this is an easy New Year’s resolution, because all you have to do is write on your calendar to make an appointment with your dermatologist. Your doctor will do the rest.

Why Are Regular Skin Cancer Checks So Important?

What does skin have to do with health? Everything. It’s your largest organ. As our bodies age, our biology changes. Skin that was smooth and clean as a 10-year-old begins showing signs of age—even as early as in your 20’s. Sun damage is a big factor in the aging of skin, and one of the potential dangers of sun damage is skin cancer.

This condition can present in various ways, though most commonly as irregular moles. The skin experts at DermSurgery Associates of Houston can do a thorough examination of your skin, with special attention paid to moles or lesions that can point to a cancerous condition.

In the U.S. each year, nearly 3.5 million people will be diagnosed with new cases of skin cancer. This accounts for more cases than colon, lung, prostate and breast cancer combined. Skin cancer can strike anyone, and while there are telltale signs that it is present, only a trained specialist can make a formal diagnosis—and even fewer are qualified to treat it through specialized Mohs surgery.

Types of skin cancer

There are many types of skin cancer, with three being the most prevalent.

  1. Basal cell carcinoma – the most common of all skin cancers
  2. Squamous cell carcinoma – the second-most common form of skin cancer
  3. Melanoma – the most aggressive and deadly skin cancer

Most, but not all, skin cancers are the result of exposure to the UV rays of the sun. People who religiously use a good sunscreen product have a much lower chance of contracting skin cancer.

While basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas need to be diagnosed and treated quickly, the biggest focus of an annual skin cancer check is melanoma. Here’s why.

  • Every 54 minutes, someone dies from melanoma.
  • Even though it’s rare (less than 1 percent of all skin cancer cases), melanoma is by far the most deadly.
  • The odds of having melanoma double in people who have had more than five sunburns.

Discover the latest melanoma statistics here.

Spotting melanoma

Although as noted, only a licensed physician can properly diagnose skin cancer, there are signs people can watch for on their bodies.

Melanoma commonly occurs in moles. Not all moles are cancerous, but those that are often have irregular shapes, jagged edges, uneven shading, and/or varied coloring. Additionally, cancerous moles often are larger than a pencil eraser and exhibit a change in shape, texture and size (either over time or compared to other moles on your body).

These are signs you can see at home, but in the very early stages, precancerous conditions can only be detected by a professional. This is why it’s so important to make a commitment to annual skin checks.  A single skin evaluation each year is in most cases sufficient to monitor your health and guard against any larger problems down the line.

Keep Your “Be Healthy” Resolution Next Year (and Every Year)

If these descriptions apply to any mole you have, please contact DermSurgery Associates right away for a complete screening. But even if you have no “odd” moles, that doesn’t rule out skin cancer, so make it one of your New Year’s resolutions every year to visit us for an annual skin cancer check. Please call us at (713) 791-9966 or request a consultation online to get started.

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DermSurgery Associates is a Greater Houston area dermatology practice offering cosmetic, surgical and non-invasive dermatology treatments and procedures with industry-leading physicians trained and experienced with the most current dermatology technologies and procedures. We have many service locations throughout the Houston area. For more information, contact

DermSurgery Associates

7515 Main, Suite 240

Houston, TX 77030


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